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U.K. PM Sunak meets with Zelenskyy on surprise trip to Ukraine, pledges support

Sunak is keen to reassure Kyiv there will be no change to British backing for Ukraine under his new leadership.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak paid an unannounced visit Saturday to Ukraine’s snow-blanketed war-time capital for talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who described the two countries as “the strongest of allies.”

Zelenskyy posted a video of the meeting in Kyiv and said “we discussed the most important issues both for our countries and for global security.”

Image: Rishi Sunak Becomes Leader Of The Conservative Party And UK's New Prime Minister
New Conservative Party leader and incoming prime minister Rishi Sunak waves as he leaves the Conservative Party Headquarters after having been announced as the winner of the Conservative Party leadership contest on Oct. 24, 2022 in London.Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

“Together we are stronger and we will achieve the desired results,” he said on Telegram. His post gave no other details.

The video Zelenskyy posted showed him greeting Sunak at a presidential palace as snowflakes fell and the two men holding talks.

Sunak tweeted: “Britain knows what it means to fight for freedom. We are with you all the way @ZelenskyyUa.”

The U.K. has been one of the staunchest Western supporters of Ukraine’s resistance to Russia’s invasion, giving Kyiv 2.3 billion pounds ($2.7 billion) in military aid.

Former U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who stepped down in July amid a welter of ethics scandals, won wide praise in Ukraine for his backing.

Sunak is keen to reassure Ukraine’s leaders that there will be no change of stance under his leadership, though when he was U.K. Treasury chief under Johnson he was considered resistant to demands for higher defense spending.